About Nuclear Napalm (twitter: @NuclearNapalm)

Another one generic indie dev. Love Unity, C# and pixel-art.

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Ludum Dare 31
 
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>>>ORIGINAL POST<<<

Hello there! The last week of Ludum Dare #31 voting almost over. We will know the winners soon, but for know I want to share with you some cool stuff. Like previous time it’s going to be my personal best of LD31. There are a lot of nice, polished games and you definitely should check them. But this time I picked games that really can stand out of the crowd. Some of them have beautiful atmosphere (like “Orion”), other have unexpected plot twists (like “Fill the bar” & “Pony island”), some have truly innovative game-mechanics (“OMNI”)… Ok, ok, enough spoilers! Here is my personal Top 10 of Ludum Dare #31! Theme – Entire game on one screen.

Cell #327

by Aru Nyan

Top 10 of Ludum Dare 31 - Nuclear Napalm

DESCRIPTION:
You have been a prisoner for as long as you can remember … Can you escape now?
A point ‘n click adventure game inspired by many old school classics.
Competition page
Web version
OPINION:
Ahh… I miss point & click era. Sweet memories.


OMNI

by Noah Ratcliff

Top 10 of Ludum Dare 31 - Nuclear Napalm

DESCRIPTION:
Play as an action platformer character who suddenly finds himself omniscient after ingesting a strange power-up. With your monitor as your vessel, explore the world outside yours.
Protip: WASD/Arrow Keys to move, spacebar to jump. Click to shoot. Shoot the monitor.
Stick around for the end… There’s a wonderful surprise that we worked very hard on for you.
Competition page
Web version
OPINION:
Most innovative game-mechanic IMO.


20 Days At Sea

by bitserum

Top 10 of Ludum Dare 31 - Nuclear Napalm

DESCRIPTION:
It’s just Margaret (you), John and the open sea, enjoying life, living the dream… but watch out for storms as those could change everything.
20 Days at Sea is a survival game, you have to gather resources to help you on your journey; or fall victim to hunger, thirst or sickness.
Competition page
Web version
OPINION:
Very smooth and calm atmosphere at the beginning. Serious survival challenge at the middle. Unexpected ending and the end (if you’ll survive).


Fill the bar

by Yaroslav Kravtsov

Top 10 of Ludum Dare 31 - Nuclear Napalm

DESCRIPTION:
Game about one screen, one button and simple rules. Just do what you asked and try to reach maximum level. Obey and have fun.
Competition page
Web version
OPINION:
It looks really boring at the beginning… but be patient and you will realise why this game in this list 😉


Tyrannicide

by koujaku

Top 10 of Ludum Dare 31 - Nuclear Napalm

DESCRIPTION:
“You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villian.” – Harvey Dent
Even a well meaning dictator can become a tyrant, and in this case, Nemo, the once noble time traveler succumbed to the power of the very items he swore to protect the world from. Nivea, queen of the Wraiths, never had any love for the man, but had always hoped his honest roots would keep him in check. Now though, Nemo’s behavior has become erratic and hostile, an unpredictable wild-card more likely to harm than to help.
You play as Umbra the Shadow Wraith, part of Queen Nivea’s elite guard, and you have been sent to end Nemo’s reign. Use your ability to teleport through space to gain an advantage over your foes, storm the castle, and deal with the rogue tyrant Nemo.
Competition page
Web version
OPINION:
Innovative, but still simple and challenging combat mechanics.


Pony Island

by Danman9914

Top 10 of Ludum Dare 31 - Nuclear Napalm

DESCRIPTION:
Frolick along the rolling green hills of Pony Island! Continuously jump over gates in this immersive and challenging experience! If you happen to hit a gate, just insert your soul and you can keep playing!:D
Competition page
Web version
OPINION:
You need some time to figure out how to start playing, but then you will be surprised. Ponies not so cute as they seem…


Orion

by feiss

Top 10 of Ludum Dare 31 - Nuclear Napalm

DESCRIPTION:
Use mouse and keys down/up (when required)
Follow all the steps and get to the space! I tried to do a full trip to mars, but.. timeout! :)
Chrome and Headphones recommended.
Competition page
Web version
OPINION:
One of the most polished games on this jam with very immersive atmosphere of spaceship. Unfortunately, pretty linear and short… but still really cool.


Wide Opened Eyes

by nzgiije

Top 10 of Ludum Dare 31 - Nuclear Napalm

DESCRIPTION:
Movement: WASD
Lantern direction: Arrows
They afraid of the light.
So your only weapon is a lantern.
Monsters don’t move while you looking at them.
Find way out.
Competition page
Web version
OPINION:
Great spooky horror platformer with simple mechanics.


Break the Limits!

by Volute

Top 10 of Ludum Dare 31 - Nuclear Napalm

DESCRIPTION:
You are trapped in a room and the only thing you can do is think. But what will you think about?
Competition page
Web version
OPINION:
Psychedelic trip to the depth of your mind.


Tower Trasher

by graebor

Top 10 of Ludum Dare 31 - Nuclear Napalm

DESCRIPTION:
Defend the blue tower, trash the red ones! Controls are simple and instructions are on the game page.
Competition page
Web version
OPINION:
Clever mix of Tower Defense, RTS and survival gameplay.


P.S.

If after all these awesome games you still up to play some roguelike survival point & click, check my entry

Last Ark

by NuclearNapalm

Last Ark - Ludum Dare 31 compo entry

DESCRIPTION:
Roguelike survival about artificial life in deep space after the end of the Earth.

This is a point & click game.
You manage oxygen consumption, energy, health and resources. Your goal is to find a planet suitable for living. When you have landed at the planet – the game is over. So choose wisely. Check planets info to figure out if it’s good or not. The far you travel, the higher chance to find an appropriate planet.

Short explanation for planet info:
R – chance to find resources
O – chance to find oxygen
S – chance to survive on this planet

The game has 5 different endings.

Competition page
Web version
OPINION:
Nope. Now it’s your turn to share your opinion 😉

Last Ark Walkthrough (with all embryos saved)

Posted by (twitter: @NuclearNapalm)
Thursday, December 11th, 2014 9:43 pm

Some people asked in comments if it’s really possible to “win” the game and keep all embryos alive? Yes, it is possible. I recorded walkthrough GIF to prove it.

Click to view full-size
Last Ark WalkthroughIt still requires some luck (digging resources, find a star), but still, it is possible :)

TRY TO SAVE ALL EMBRYOS

 LastArk_thumb

Last Ark

Posted by (twitter: @NuclearNapalm)
Sunday, December 7th, 2014 7:05 pm

LastArk_thumb

I didn’t believe that I can do it until this moment! Here is my compo-entry LAST ARK

Roguelike survival about artificial life in deep space after the end of the Earth.

This is a point & click game.
You manage oxygen consumption, energy, health and resources. Your goal is to find a planet suitable for living. When you have landed at the planet – the game is over. So choose wisely. Check planets info to figure out if it’s good or not. The far you travel, the higher chance to find an appropriate planet you have.

LastArk_header

I hope you’ll enjoy it!

Ludum Dare #30 – Lessons Learned

Posted by (twitter: @NuclearNapalm)
Thursday, September 11th, 2014 12:40 pm

ORIGINAL BLOG-POST

Ludum Dare Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

Ludum Dare #30 is getting closer to finish line. I think it’s time to look back and try to analyze overall approach: what mistakes were made, what lessons I learned and how it can be improved for the next competitions. There are not only lessons learned, but also tip’n’tricks that can be useful for newcomers and for veterans of LD and game-jams. This post is about the competition itself. If you’re interested in my project in details you can check “The Beginning – Postmortem”. This material based on my Ludum Dare experience, but is relevant for almost any game-jam. It’s gonna be wall of text, so be patient and let’s start…

Theme announcement

Ludum Dare has voting system for pick a theme for upcoming competition. Voting contains several rounds. Final round contains 20 finalists and starts 2 days before the theme announcement and the official start of competition. One of these finalists becomes an official theme of the competition. So, you have 2 days to think about all of these 20 themes. It’s pretty enough to plot at least 2-3 possible variations of gameplay and setting for each theme. This approach will save you a couple hours during the competition timeframe. So, don’t waste your time, start thinking about theme as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to check  Ludum Dare forum and Twitter (#LD48 hashtag) during these 2 days before competition and try to figure out what themes have higher chances to win the vote. So you can spend a bit  more time on these themes.


Promo materials

Always keep in mind that within competition timeframe you must prepare promo materials to attract people’s attention. According to my experience you need at least 2-3 hours to make some basic promo assets like screenshots, description, etc.

Catchy cover image & screenshots

When other participants open the “Play+Rate” page they see 18 thumbnails. You must do everything to force them to click on YOUR thumbnail. Some people just put some screenshot of their game as a thumbnail. The problem is that when you scale down 1280×720 to 120×75 the image becomes a mess, especially UI elements. Players can check hi-res screenshots later on your page if they want, but first of all it’s better to show them something that will grab their attention even with 120×75 size. Compare these 2 thumbnails: left one is a screenshot, right one is a cover image.

Screenshot Cover image

Which one looks more interesting and appealing? I hope you’ve got the message. So, spend at least 20-30 minutes to craft cover image from scratch. You can use your game assets of course, but make it clear and readable. Make it interesting, so player will be hooked with this image.

Speaking about screenshots it worth to mention that main point of screenshots is to show players VALUE and OPPORTUNITY. You should tell a player something like “If you will play this game you will visit at least 3 different locations, fight against 4 enemies using 5 types of weapons!”. Show the best things that you have in your game (if it doesn’t contain spoilers). Don’t show the same content on several screenshots. It’s better to show less, than show the same content again and again. It’s just boring and a player will think that you don’t have a lot of content.

Intriguing name & description

It’s obvious, but the title of your game should be unique. Never name your game as game-jam’s theme. Never EVER! As the thumbnail, the title is the first thing that player will see. Some participants trying to explain gameplay in title of their game… Don’t do it. It’s boring. Make it interesting, force player to think “Why it’s called like this? What is behind of this name?”.

Description… Let’s be honest, we don’t like reading. When we come to game-jam page we don’t want to read, we want PLAY GAMES! Immediately! But if at some point I decided to read the description, I don’t want to read that this is your first entry, that you failed miserably, that you didn’t find proper application of theme, etc. Do you think it’s really going to help you earn higher rating? I don’t think so… Don’t complain, don’t excuse. I don’t want to read about you, I want to read about your game. Tell me the story! A brief introduction of the game. A couple sentences. Also there can be some important information e.g. critical bugs and how to avoid them or ask player turn on the sound if it affects user experience.

Some people include controls explanation in description. It’s not so bad, but my opinion is that it’s much better to explain controls inside the game, not outside (we don’t want to read, we want to play, remember?). Make some simple tutorial in the beginning or at least “How to play” screen INSIDE the game.

Web version

I saw a lot of entries that contain Win/Linux/Mac builds, but not Web (sometimes even mobile only). I understand that not all frameworks allow you to build for web, but try to use those that can. It will significantly increase amount of people that will play and rate your game. The explanation is simple – the less steps player must perform to start playing the better.

Win/Linux/Mac:

  1. Download archive
  2. Unarchive
  3. Launch the game

Sometimes it requires do install the game, so one more step. Mobile version requires at least one more step – copy to device.

Web:

  1. Click link to start playing

Feel the difference…

Another advantage is that web build is platform independent. Win, Linux and Mac users can play the same game in their web-browser. So, if you want increase your audience, provide web version of your game.

Walkthrough video

Walkthrough video is not necessary, but nice to have feature. It can be helpful if your game is appeared to be hardcore and difficult to beat. In my case problem was even worse because I had a story-based game and the best part of the game is ending. Since game appeared to be really hard, not so many players were able to finish it. It means that they wouldn’t see the ending and wouldn’t figure out what this game is about. Is this case walkthrough video really helps. Players can check all the levels and features of the game and also watch the ending.


Post-compo activity

If you think that you finished since you’d made awesome game, prepared cool promo materials, record walkthrough video and submitted everything to competition website…. then you’re sooo wrong. It’s just a beginning. What’s the point to make a game if nobody plays it? Now it’s time for players acquisition. The more players will play your game, the more rating and feedbacks you’ll receive.

When I entered this competition I didn’t have a lot of friends who could participate and rate my game. I didn’t have any community ready to support my game neither. But… 2 weeks after deadline “most coolness” list looked like this:

Most coolness list

You can see my entry “The Beginning” at #1 position (top-left corner). Entry has 200 ratings at that moment, most other entries have less than 100 ratings. Now I tell you how I did it. There is no rocket-science, just simple tools that everyone can use. Here we go!

Play, Rate, COMMENT!

At the competition page you can find this sign:

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to place in the final results, you NEED votes. The easiest way to get votes is by rating other games. Judging lasts for 3 weeks following the end of Ludum Dare. For best effect, rate 20 games as soon as possible. Rating more games is encouraged.

If you want significantly increase visibility of your entry, you must rate about 100 entries. But there is another very important thing – when you rate an entry ALWAYS LEAVE A COMMENT! Even if you have nothing to say. Just throw the line like “Nice entry! Good job!”. People love comments, they’re waiting for comments. If they see your comment they will gladly play, rate and comment your entry. It’s like to say “Thank you for you comment, here is mine”. So, I repeat, when you play other entries always leave a comment. Always.

Another important thing you should keep in mind – first 2 days after deadline are the most important for self-promotion! There is a highest activity during these days. People still engaged, they visit competition website often to check if everything alright, if there some problems with their entry, etc. If you can reach coolness=100 (amount of entries you’ve rated) during first 2 days – excellent!

If you can afford to play and rate entries all 3 weeks – do it. Activity is pretty low after 1st week, but you can still earn some ratings. At the moment when this post has been written I had coolness=342.

Twitter

Don’t wait untill players come to you, go to players and give them your game! People want to play games. You can use Twitter to find this kind of people. Check #LD48 hashtag regularly. You also can find #LD40 feed on main compo page. I’m pretty sure you will see something like this:

Don’t be shy. They want to play your game. Just give it to them. Don’t forget to thank the person which responded and played your game. This is also a good way to grow your Twitter community.

Reddit

Another good source of traffic for your game is Reddit. There is special Ludum Dare subreddit where you can post all stuff related to your entry – link to competition page, walkthrough video, postmortem, etc. You can also find some people who will play and stream your game on YouTube or Twitch.

Twitch & YouTube

Don’t forget about streamers! Some of them have YouTube channels, some of them prefer Twitch. Guys from Button Masher Bros have awesome YouTube series about Ludum Dare. You can send them your game through Twitter, Reddit and YouTube.

You can find a list of active Twitch streamers on competition’s main page. I had a pleasure to watch how Crefossus, AtomicVikings and Wertle played my game.

The best thing about streams is that you can see how players actually play your game. It’s much better and much useful than just text comments. On Twitch you can communicate with them live – answer some questions, help them to solve puzzles and just have a fun :)


Conclusion

Ok, I think it’s enough for my “Ultimate manual – how to participate in game-jams”. Hope you found it interesting and useful. If you like this article, please share it using buttons below. If you have your own “Secret Weapon” and ready to share it – welcome to comments! Good luck with upcoming game-jams!

My Top15 of Ludum Dare #30

Posted by (twitter: @NuclearNapalm)
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 1:11 am

ORIGINAL BLOG-POST

What’s up guys! Today I have something really cool for you. As I mentioned before, I played and watched several hundreds of LD30 entries. There are tons of cool games, but I want to share with you my personal Top15 of Ludum Dare 30. It contains entries from both 48 hours Compo and Jam. If you didn’t play some this games yet, then you definitely should. They’re all worth it. Btw, I don’t insist and don’t try to convince you. I just want to share my personal opinion and I hope you will find something interesting here. All entries unsorted and appear in (almost) random order.

So, enough talking, let’s check and play some cool games! Theme – Connected worlds.

(more…)

The Beginning – Postmortem

Posted by (twitter: @NuclearNapalm)
Sunday, August 31st, 2014 11:31 am

ORIGINAL BLOG-POST (with fancy quotes)

Greeting my dear friends! Nice to see you again. One week has passed after Ludum Dare 30 deadline. I had enough sleep, played a lot of (300 actually) LD’s entries and also I’ve got a lot of feedbacks about my game “the Beginning”. I think it’s a good time to write a postmortem and share some thoughts about competition. Here we go!

The Beginning by Nuclear Napalm

ATTENTION!
Following post contains spoilers!
PLAY THE GAME BEFORE READING!

(more…)

Simplified verision of “The Beginning”

Posted by (twitter: @NuclearNapalm)
Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 7:21 am

Since a lot of people said that “The Beginning” is too difficult, I added the simplified version. Even my wife managed to complete it :)

Check this out:

SIMPLIFIED WIN VERSION
SIMPLIFIED WEB VERSION

Also there is still Walkthrough video for those who curious about ending.

“The Beginning” Walkthrough (Spoilers!)

Posted by (twitter: @NuclearNapalm)
Monday, August 25th, 2014 12:54 am

Hey!

Since my entry “The Beginning” appeared to be a bit hardcore, I think it’s a good idea to make a video walkthrough for those who don’t have enough patience to beat the game :)

So, here we go! Spoiler alert!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsDNMcukSpg

Imagine cool and inspiring title here

Posted by (twitter: @NuclearNapalm)
Tuesday, August 19th, 2014 11:12 pm

Ok, ok, you got me, I’m in…

Ready for solo compo.

TOOLS:

  • Brain
  • Head with 2 eyes
  • 2 hands
  • Laptop
  • Unity
  • MonoDevelop (C#)
  • GIMP
  • Audacity
  • Beer
  • Burgers
  • Drumsticks (the real ones from drum set, not those from McDonalds and KFC)

So, good luck to everyone! We need more GOOD games!

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